How gay became known as a “sin and

How frequently do you witness discrimination towards yourself, or the people around you? “Every day, an average of more than 10 Canadians die by suicide.”1 Majority of these deaths are by “LGBTQ youth in comparison to their non-LGBTQ peers. This refers to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit or queer/questioning youth.”2 Over the many preceding years, it has been evident that Canadian law has gradually progressed regarding LGBT rights. Despite the fact that Canada was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriage, many issues still remain such as discrimination and hate crimes. A significant fact that everyone must acknowledge is that “For most of recorded history, sexual relations between same-sex partners were hardly seen as different at all.”(Keen)3 The preeminent reason as to why being gay has been looked down upon throughout history, is rooted from Christian church leaders. This was due to their popular belief that “good things are based in nature.”(Keen)4 As a result of the church’s influence on the law, being gay became known as a “sin and crime of engaging in non procreative sex or homosexuality.”(Keen)5 After many years, the negative view and discrimination in regards to gay rights is still taking place, even in a country such as Canada. Although, throughout the many centuries, numerous breakthroughs have taken place such as the Stonewall Inn.(Bausum)6 Despite this exceptional progress, and Canada’s strong, well known belief in equality, being gay is still not entirely welcomed by Canadian society. LGBT person’s are constantly looked down upon and unaccepted in schools, religious communities, and even within one’s own family and/or group of friends. However, seeing that the LGBT social movement will not be ceased anytime soon, society must encourage increased acceptance of homosexuality. Thus, the negative views against homosexual rights must be obviated. A person’s sexuality is a part of who they are and it is not something that is subject to be changed. ((((because it is their choice, mental illness, biological/// not subject to be changed because it is discrimination, hate crimes/// it is against equality rights, all should have the right to love who they want)))) ((work/ school,,, religion and home,,, hate crimes))) (((harrasment, discrimination///why we should encourage increased acceptance///the effect it will have on society))) According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 15 states that “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”7  Despite the fact that Canada is perceived as one of the most inclusive countries in the world, there are still many issues that violate our right to equality. In 1987, a boy named Jamie Nabozny was in seventh grade. A group of his classmates would repeatedly insult him by calling him words such as “faggot” and “queer.” As years went by, the harassment gradually grew worse. It resulted in Jamie finding himself on the ground, as another boy repeatedly abused him while others stood and watched. Throughout the years, Jamie and his family fought to prevent anymore anti gay harassment, however, the school officials refused to get involved. As a matter of fact, the school officials did not discipline any student that participated in any kind of verbal or physical abuse towards LGBT students.(Ball)8 Society must acknowledge that similar situations are still constantly occurring all over the world. Therefore, it is crucial that children are taught on topics such as homosexuality at a young age. It is clear that many people, especially parents, may question what homosexuality has to do with a child’s education. “Homosexuality itself has nothing to do with education, any more than biology, chemistry, algebra or any other subject does. What is important is what one can learn from the study of a given subject.”(Ojeda)6 Thus, it gives them the opportunity to develop skills that “will help them learn to think critically about social issues” (Ojeda)7 and prevent experiences like Jamie’s so that it will not continue to occur overtime. Furthermore, the way one would comprehend homosexuality and how it reflects our values, beliefs, and worldview holds astounding educational value.(Ojeda)8 How frequently do you hear someone say “That’s so gay” or “You’re a fag”? “88% of the 1,000 students interviewed in a 2001 national phone survey conducted by Hamilton College reported having heard classmates use “gay” as a derogatory term,” “4 out of 5 students in the 1999 Safe Schools Coalition survey who said that they had experienced anti-LGBT harassment (80%) identified as heterosexual,” and “According to Hostile Hallways: Bullying, Teasing, and Sexual Harassment in School, a 2001 study conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 73% of students would be “very upset” if someone said they were gay or lesbian. Among boys, no other type of sexual harassment, including physical abuse, provoked so strong a reaction.”  (Ojeda)9 Discrimination towards the LGBT community has become so common that terms that label one’s sexual orientation are regularly used as insults. Which is why it is extremely significant to teach to kids, seeing that the subject will play a role in developing the way they grow to view the world. It will also assist in preventing harassment, discrimination and hate crimes against the LGBT community.  However, despite the beneficial skills that students will achieve, some parents may disagree and will disapprove the lessons on such topics. According to Auriana Ojeda, the author of the book Homosexuality, she met a mother in Merrimack who feared that her children will one day be exposed to homosexuality. “We must help her understand that bigotry and name-calling represent a greater threat to her child’s welfare than an open discussion of touchy issues. We must help her understand that silencing people will never make an issue go away, but will simply cause it to fester.” (Ojeda)10 Many people are unwilling to take the time to educate themselves on what it means to be gay. Which is why it makes it difficult for LGBT members to come out to their family or friends, due to the fear of not being accepted. The discrimination and minimal support that the LGBT community unfortunately has, leads to difficult and confusing experiences. Situations such as trying out for gendered sports teams, or choosing which gendered washroom to use is very hard on people who identify themselves as transgender, genderqueer or gender nonconforming. One day in 2016, in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a transgender women was enjoying her time at a bar when she decided to use the washroom. As she approached the door, she noticed a sign that read “you must use the bathroom of your birth gender.”(Cornell)11 Events such as this brings out many angry transgender activist, who furiously express themselves online or in person by participating in picket lines. Seeing that there has not been any study in Canada on the subject, there has been “one 2015 U.S. survey conducted by Los Angeles-based The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that 59 percent of transgender individuals avoided public washrooms because that was the place they were most likely to be assaulted or verbally abused. And in the year previous to the study, more than one in 10 said they had experienced harassment, assault or sexual assault in restroom, and nearly one in 10 had been denied access to a washroom.” (Cornell)11 Without the encouragement of society to increase acceptance, there will continually be a negative effect on the LGBT community. According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone has the “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” For someone to deny another person’s basic necessities of life due to their sexual orientation, it goes against their freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression. However, seeing that Canada is a leader in equal rights, we have recently been a great influence on other countries around the world. Small acts can create a huge impact, such as in 2016, when “the CNE introduced individual, self-contained toilets, for example, with a simple stick figure wearing a half-skirt, half pant and a caption that reads, “We don’t care.” (Cornell)12 This allowed people of any gender to use the bathroom, without being harassed or judged. In addition, discrimination still remains present in the workplace. A multitude of gay employees in Canada are unfortunately struggling in regards to career advancement. “The key barriers LGBT workers face at work are discriminatory behaviour, a lack of awareness on the issue, and exclusion from networking opportunities with others.”13 According to a research organization known as Catalyst, these three key barriers have made employment much more difficult for LGBT members. This has led to 12% of women and 5% of men having to hide their sexual orientation as a result of discriminatory treatment in the workplace. Many people do not acknowledge “the poignant linkage between sexuality and identity, nor how they bring their sexuality and identity to work with them every day without even realizing it.” (Sasso)14 A person’s sexuality is evidently present in the workplace on a daily basis. Whether you have a photo of your spouse on your desk, a ring on your finger, or when you talk about what you and your significant other did over the weekend. A person’s sexuality is not something that can easily be hidden, because it “is part of the workplace when we think about work-family policies, such as parental leave, partner benefits, and who is invited to social events.” (Sasso)15 It is also very unfortunate that many people do not realize in many organizations, discrimination is embedded within our policies and practices. Such as, “gay men being paid less than heterosexual men, or a lesbian employee being passed over for a promotion.”(Sasso)16 However, according to the Canadian Human Rights Act, section 11, subsection 2, “In assessing the value of work performed by employees employed in the same establishment, the criterion to be applied is the composite of the skill, effort and responsibility required in the performance of the work and the conditions under which the work is performed.”(Sasso)17 Thus, no one should be restricted from any career advancement primarily based on their sexual orientation. Every employee “should receive the same privileges and opportunities within Canadian workplaces as heterosexual and cisgender employees.”(Sasso)18 If society was to fully accept homosexuality, it would positively benefit the LGBT community and society as whole. However, the vast majority of the world still does not completely welcome gay marriage because of “marital instability, falling birth rates, and increases in children being born outside of marriage”(Gates)13 Despite the possible disadvantages, same-sex marriage also carries many advantages that are beneficial to society.  When heterosexuals give up their child, there are many homosexual couples eagerly waiting to “play an outsized role in caring for some of the nation’s most vulnerable kids.” (Gates)14 Children are three times more likely to be adopted by same-sex couples, and five times more likely when they’re married. (Gates)15 Those who are against gay marriage would argue that heterosexual parents are more likely to raise their children better than homosexual parents. Assuming that a child would benefit more from opposite sex parents “is a false read of social science research.” (Gates)16 A couples ability to properly raise their children is not based off of their sexual orientation, but rather their ability to remain in a stable and committed relationship. To conclude, a person’s sexuality is not something that should be changed, society should instead encourage increased acceptance of gay and homosexual rights. It is evident that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, discrimination, harassment, and hate crimes are highly intolerable. With solutions such as teaching the younger generations on topics such as homosexuality, it will essentially prevent the constant discrimination against the LGBT community. When children are educated on what it means to be gay, as they develop, they will learn that love is love.

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